Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cruise Control

Being on the Road, or on the boat, in this case, always gives great opportunities for sampling new tastes. Four fifths of my family went on a spring break cruise to the Caribbean. My week was a fine cocktail of experiences: one part laying in the sun, one part eating, zero parts working out. Card games and long dinners gave us lots of time at the table, and I am not one bit sad about it. While our cruise may not have given the most authentic sampling of Caribbean cuisine, the food was memorable nonetheless.
 On the second night of the trip we ate at an Asian restaurant at the top of the boat claiming to serve a wide variety of Asian foods. While I’m unsure that the Tamarind could represent the culinary substance of the entire continent of Asia I am sure that the food was fresh and creative. The meal was six courses, and similar to a pre fixed menu, we had to choose all six courses at the beginning. This was tough, but between the four of us it seemed that we had covered a great deal of the menu. Four people, six courses, 24 dishes, we had some work to do.  

 The star of the meal turned out to be the brothy soups. My mom and sister and I each ordered some type of seafood soup where the broth had a distinct flavor of scallop or mussels. The sea creatures swimming in the broth were moist but not overtaken by the soup. The saltiness was not over powering and crispy kale and bean sprouts held their own in the light broth. Another star was the seared Thai beef salad. The lime and mint vinaigrette gave the thin slices of beef a tangy bite and balanced the taste of nearly raw meat. The beef nested in a simple salad of romaine, julianned peppers, and red onions.
The desserts did not blow us away. The giant fortune cookie was enticing because, well, it was a giant fortune cookie. None of us were partial to the ginger-chocolate combination of my sister's pick. I did enjoy the delicate 'Mango Cloud' that I ordered, particularly because I was feeling more like a large boulder than a cloud at that point in the meal.

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